Remember that old song- my little runaway, run, run, run, run runaway? I’ve been singing it all day. Why? Because I had my own little runaway last night!
My five year old son was being particularly trying and not listening to me. I was telling him over and over to brush his teeth and get in bed. I was in the room and heard a crash and the sound of breaking glass! Instead of brushing his teeth, he had climbed up on the counter and was trying to put something on a shelf. In the process, he knocked my husbands new bottle of Hugo Boss cologne into the sink. It broke and he started crying because he felt bad.
When Daddy came into the room, I told him what happened and little man started crying harder. He said. “You didn’t say you forgive me!” My husband’s response, was “You didn’t ask me to. You didn’t say you were sorry.”
Instead of apologizing, he got mad and pronounced that he was leaving and didn’t want to be a part of our family anymore. He said he was going to leave “right now!”
I calmly and cooly grabbed a suitcase and told him I would help him pack. I had a pile of clothes that were too small for him sitting on the floor, so I grabbed them, put them in the suitcase with a pair of sneakers, a jacket, his toothbrush and a car. He was only wearing his boxers, so I handed him his Florida Gators jersey and told him he probably wanted to put a shirt on. He also saw his Buzz lightyear stocking cap sitting nearby and put that on his head. I told him his shoes were downstairs so we would have to go put them on first before he could leave.
He has a red watch box that he keeps his watch and a few silly bands in and he grabbed that before he headed down the stairs.I was wondering how long he was going to keep it up, but he went downstairs, put on his flipflops and I carried his suitcase down for him.
As we stood at the front door, I told him goodbye, and opened the door for him and helped him get his suitcase onto the porch. As I watched him start to walk away, I heard him start crying. It was such a sad sight to see my little guy, walking down the driveway, head down, clutching his watch box and dragging a suitcase behind him. Of course I only let him get to the end of the driveway before I called out to him and asked him why he was crying. I asked him if he thought he might like to come back inside and he said ok. (Thank goodness, because his little sister was hysterical at the thought that her big brother was leaving us!)
We went in, unpacked the suitcase, put everything away and as he snuggled into his bed, I explained to him that I would never really have let him leave. That I was with him the whole time and that there was no way he was ever leaving our family. I told him that even though he was walking away I was watching out for him.
Later on I reflected on what had taken place and how being a parent has given me such a better picture of my relationship with my heavenly Father. You see there was a time when I decided that I didn’t want to be a part of His family anymore. I was messed up, and instead of repenting and getting it right with Him, I got mad. I packed my bags and walked away, all the while knowing that the very thing I was walking away from was the very thing that brought me the most happiness, contentment and security in my life. I went a lot further than the driveway, in fact it took me about 8 years to come home.
As I stood there last night watching my son walking away, knowing that I would never let him out of my sight, I realized that during that time in my life that’s what my Heavenly Father was doing to me. Always standing at a distance keeping an eye on me. Waiting for the moment when in all my brokenness I decided I wanted to come back to His loving arms, so He could walk me back to the house, help me unpack and let me know that He would never let me get too far away. Letting me know that He would always be there. Letting me know that even if I walked away from Him, He would never walk away from me.
Hebrews 13:5 in the Message Bible says Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” That means He will never leave YOU either. No matter how far you’ve gone, or where you have been, you can always come home. There is a Heavenly Father waiting for you to wrap you in His arms, and welcome you into His loving embrace.